Archive for April, 2009

Weekend Lost

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Sure Paradise was lost but ever lose a weekend? I seem to have done just that. Days go by quite nicely at the McNary NWR and when Thursday ends I leave that hat behind and go off for serendipity stuff.

Well this time I goofed. Early Friday morning off I went to Columbia Basin College to help staff a booth that would at the most optimistic garner a new volunteer or 2 for the Refuge. Hundreds of school kids were bused in to see every aspect of the greening of the tri-cities. I informed them all that like the two animals represented by their hides, we are all mammals born without teeth therefore must be fed on milk until we grow them.

That wasn’t really a surprise to the kids but they did like to touch the soft fur on the river otter and the beaver. However we had no giveaway — no tidbit, fan, balloon. That was OK. They already had a bag full of stuff they weren’t going to look at anyway. So they were sweet and asked about the pictures we had of kids playing at the Refuge. Many kids looked at the name and said, “Oh, I’ve been there.” Or some asked, “Didn’t you tell stories in the teepee?”

I did renew some acquaintances from years past. I took myself out when Deb came to my relief. The booth work was tiring. The parking lot was so huge and so full of cars with no number identification anywhere so it took a bit of searching to find my car. Anyway it didn’t take long for me to hit the sack after I go home.

But I was back again on Saturday, somewhat later because I planned to close up at 4 pm and haul the display back to the Refuge. That day was even more tiring. Many businesses had set up out side the Gjerde building and did fun activities, kept them busy. You should see the sun cooker I got for a single wiener. Have to go buy some so I can use it — when the sun shines again. (hasn’t today).

Sunday I had some relief with my freethought hour. That bunch is relaxing to talk to. A college student did put up an argument with a man who was describing the value of his union in the theatre atmosphere in New York where he works for several years as a stage hand. Scott couldn’t see any reason why the government had any thing to do with regulating the unions. As a citizen he said a bunch of workers at a corporation should be able to get together and stand up to management without formal organizing of a union. Well I couldn’t explain it but it was clear that such a group wouldn’t get any health coverage or wage consideration either. But he didn’t get it.

I was very glad that I had to go open the Refuge and help our Swiss volunteers with their bird walk. Twenty folks came to a late Sunday afternoon bird walk that the Swiss had literally worked their butts off to advertise all over the place. By 5 pm I was well spent. They did convince me there was a lot more work I could do to get people out to the Refuge. But this kid ain’t gonna do it. Not with hours of time needed.

So this morning, Monday, I was at the Refuge once again wondering where my weekend went.


Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Got up at 0530 to turn on water in front yard, from the west side for the lilac and forsythia, and from the east side for the flowers and arborvitae out front. Hope that will be enough watering there for the week. I wake up at first light and it seems to come earlier every day. First thing after washing my eyes, and other ablutions, I had a pink grapefruit. As usual I fixed my oatmeal, bran, cinnamon, and raisins, devoured with milk and then was off to the grocery store for fruit and vegetables and vitamin E.

Another cold sore is popping out on my upper lip. I was really discouraged when Google sources said they often came in response to ultraviolet sun rays. I have been infatuated with the sun all my life and with rare appearances of cold sores I never once made any such association. Stress was also accountable for the problem and so far I haven’t been able to put a bridle on that. Nancy suggested I eat more carrots and I bought a bunch as well as broccoli, not to stop stress but to give me more vitamins and consequently, more zip.

I looked carefully at country of origin which Mike reminded me was marked on fruit and vegetables so I ate an Argentinian pear. I scrubbed the surface of my USA carrots and cut out the seeds of my Mexican green pepper. Too full to eat any of them just now. I called in sick so I can lay around in the 80-plus degree sunshine another day. Maybe after a nap I can accomplish at least one task to cluck over for today.

Go Fish

Monday, April 20th, 2009

How long has it been since you played

Oh What a Yesterday!

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Yesterdays are not the usual subjects in my thoughts but April 16 appeared somewhat different. Oh it began in the usual way with breakfast, shower, and drive to McNary NWR. I detoured to the Post Office and mailed off the package of Romance Contest entries I critiqued for the annual writing contest for Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference. Cement was going to be poured around McNary Education Center and volunteers were alerted to stomp in animal footprints when the time was right. I arrived at the Center and no one else was around. Kathrin and Thomas were at Columbia NWR helping Callie and Jennifer with a curlew survey. There were things I wanted to do on the scrapbook that unfortunately get put off for tasks more immediately at hand. I was interrupted so often I put the materials away and headed out to the native plant area. No one would interrupt me during weeding. That was a job that so far had come up with zero interest to otherwise excited volunteers. Cheat grass and henbit gave up easily to my urgent fingertips. Almost to easily. No challenge.

A large sagebrush was sprawling over a much larger area than it warranted because it had been tromped on a year ago. Overarching branches threatened to smother Prairie Clover and that was not allowed. The sagebrush would have to go. Obviously it would not get up and leave by its own volition. That meant I had to remove it. And I did. But not without an hour of sawing, twisting, clipping and hard pulling. Whatever had caused the sprawling damaged the plant and the branches at the roots were rotten. The branches, if I can call them that, now are piled in the path to be loaded in the Gator and removed to the burn pile.

What an accomplishment that was! On my way home I deposited the last check for a memorial to Margaret Greger. Very self satisfied with the completion of so much work. I was ripe for a rest in the warm sunshine on my back porch. For 2 hours I rested. Then I woke and removed myself to my recliner and rested again. I was certain that by ten pm I would never sleep once I went to bed. But I had to lie down for a change. Remembering a chill I had the past few nights I pulled out my electric blanket and plugged that in. And that was that.

Today will be quite different. (I think.)

What a life!

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

The time has come for me to slow down. The best way to do that is to cut off the coffee, at least stop lacing it with chocolate. I have my hands full making a schedule for the Swiss volunteers, Kathrin and Thomas, and am interupted to answer questions or make administrative decisions that somehow no one else dares to make. I had rushed to the airport at 1 to hug Senator Patty Murray at a special reception and went merrily on my way home to rake up stuff for the garbage. I missed a meeting Monday night because I was urged (and gave in) to go to a meeting for Making our “community a better place” when I should have been meeting with other writers to form a local chapter of PNWA. I should retire from there and have peace and tranquility at home. Too many ‘shoulds.’

My calendar showed I had a Library Board meeting tonight at 7 pm. Well it was from 5 until 7 and I showed up after it was all over. So now I am back at Little Shiba making a movie of erecting our canvas teepee by the Swiss volunteers. A week ago there wasn’t even a pole up and now it stands in all its glory. Very authentic and without a wrinkle thanks to a friend from Richland Rod and Gun Club. I haven’t made a movie for months and have to learn everything again. Well the movie is not yet up so I haven’t quite learned it all. But it will happen, if I do not fall asleep first. It’s been a long day.

The light comes on before six am. Old Sol has been getting up earlier every day and so the darned star nudges me out of slumber to oatmeal and abolutions and household chores before I go off to the Refuge. By two thirty I am famished and then while my belly full of protein settles I fall asleep in my comfy recliner. Which renews my energy so I stay up to enjoy some TV or read a wonderful mystery. That doesn’t sound too taxing, does it? Certainly not a life on the fast track. But if my date book gets messed, I am going to have to slow down and think about it.

Cornbread Heater

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Mornings are very cool and more noticeable since I turned off my heaters several days past. To counteract the chill this morning I mixed up a batch of cornbread first thing after brewing coffee. There was heat in the kitchen from the oven and more warmth in my tummy from hot cornbread with molasses for breakfast. A grand start for the day. The heavy cloud cover seemed to be ready to drop rain but a gentle southwest wind blew them aside and the day warmed nicely. I went to work on contest entries. It was pleasant to sit in the back porch to read and critique them. Now I have only 2 left to finish.

CBS finally got their local tower on analog so I can catch up on Y&R. At least on Wednesdays and maybe Fridays. I get a weak signal sometimes that breaks up the picture and sound but I have to live with that I suppose. After a big dish of salad I stepped out on the back steps and was dive bombed by a hornet. I see them often on the fence by my car. They will get a lethal shot of wasp killer as soon as there is any sign of a hive.

My backyard is wild. The squirrel took off along the fence top and headed for branches in the Ponderosa Pines. I can see no sign of a nest but the little red ones must live close by. They drop down from Wade’s roof to the Douglas trunk and dig out the nuts they hid last fall. Crows nest in that huge cottonwood tree and squawk from time to time. Gulls glide over hoping for a leftover picnic scrap.

My privacy fence is wonderful. I can go out in my nightwear to hang clothes first thing in the morning. I go out in the afternoons to sunbathe in a skimpy suit. Maybe when the full moon comes up I’ll go and moon bathe.

Intense Day

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Long intense meeting this morning at McNary Refuge. Designers came from the Regional office in Portland to discuss the content and placement of the informational signage for the environmental education center which we now will call the McNary Discovery Center. The administration building has to be identified as such and somewhere the McNary refuge itself will be mapped with the part open to the public clearly marked. As with all institutions there are certain rules or standards that must be used in the finished signs. We are limited or constrained by money that is available to pay for the pretty things.

The Friends of Mid-Columbia River NWR Complex and the USFW staff decided what we wanted the signs to impart to visitors that will lure them further into the Discovery Center and ultimately outdoors to experience their connection to nature for themselves. I am satisfied that we gave the designers (word crafters) our ideas to work with. The next step is for Friends and USFW to review those first brainstormed ideas. We may go around several times to get the text to please us all but that is critical. Text is easily changed. Once words are integrated into the design a change is costly and probably will not happen.

At home I finally got out into the sunshine (71 F) to straighten the soaker hose I laid behind the south fence that will irrigate the Nancy-planted shrubs and trees. Then I took my garden rake and began digging out the weeds that are covering my driveway. The little plants with tiny white flowers (the size of a pin head) look like a fuzz on the ground. The stems are about 2 inches high but the roots go twice that far into the soil. Anyway I managed to clean out several square yards, raking with much pressure to dislodge the plants and skim the stems and roots out. I worked hard gasping air through my mouth. Strange how that physical activity made my ears ache painfully. Maybe the unusually high pollen from trees affects me more than I like to admit. I don’t have allergies. (yeah, right). I stuffed Vicks in my ears and nose and hope for relief.

All I can do is settle down with a porkchop and with bleary eyes watch Jeopardy.

Sunshine Plus

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Earthquakes greater than 5-magnitude occurred in the central and southern mid-Atlantic ridge this morning. Are those actions that pull the continents of Africa and the Americas further apart? Scientists measure an inch of separation annually as it is and not necessarily simultaneously with marked quakes. In years past there was some connection of ocean disturbances with hurricanes. Will the season of turbulence be more marked this coming season? I’ve lost touch with my Culebra friends but I saw the devastation from winds before 2000. Their home is a pole house earthquake proof and it withstood serious hurricanes before that, the Youngs’ said as they huddled in an inside corner clutching their dogs. Windows were blown out but the building otherwise remained solid. Only other damage was their water soaked bed. My bed in the south facing second floor remained dry and untouched.

This morning’s sunrise is shrouded. Perhaps no sun to shine all day. In the “Holy Land” Judaism celebrated at The Temple Mount, Judaism’s holy place, not a simple regular sunrise but one that only occurs every 28 years. (Like the sun never rose in between times.) Nevertheless, the Sun Blessing – Birkat Hachama in Hebrew – takes place when the Sun returns to the point at which it was, Jewish tradition says, when God created the world thousands of years ago.

Folks with grown-up brains recognize the facts. The sun rises and sets because of the earth’s rotation and I like it that way. Couldn’t change it if I wanted to, any more than I could figure out where to trigger the next earthquakes.

Teepee Rises

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

So it is 0600, April 07, 2009, almost sunup. Gray blue western horizon bodes an unsettled day. My oatmeal devoured I rinsed out clothes which I hung out while still in my nightshirt. I had slept with my window open as usual but the day before I turned off the heater (the temperature had been 71 F for two days) so I was concerned that the house might be chillier than I prefer. But it was not. I picked up another contest entry to work on before I had to get dressed for the Refuge.

Debbie had scheduled help to erect the canvas teepee. I asked if it could be done before Saturday. The second Saturday of every month is a big deal at the Refuge. I just ask and it is done. She and I erected that teepee last year but with the wrinkles we decided to get help from an expert.

He did good although we used most of the morning because the Swiss volunteers, Kathrin and Thomas, were to have the experience. Lucky me. I did not lift a thing — except the camera. I sent the old phragmites boat and other scrap to the burn pile. The area cleaned up nicely for the weekend event. The breeze from the northwest is chilly so I do not expect to do much sunning when I get home, which will probably be nearly 4pm because I must deposit another check for Margaret Greger’s memorial.

I am at McNary National Wildlife Refuge getting something useful done while I await my helpers to do the work.

Another Day

Monday, April 6th, 2009

At least 90 people are believed dead and tens of thousands homeless after an earthquake hit L’Aquila and other towns in central Italy, according to BBC news this morning, April 6, 2009.

The 6.3-magnitude quake struck at 0330 (0130 GMT) close to L’Aquila.

About 1,500 people were injured and many people are still missing (0600 in Salmonriver country) as rescuers search desperately for survivors trapped beneath rubble.

Three trembled in California, two offshore at 3.0- and 3.5-magnitude; and one at 2.5-magnitude thirteen miles deep about two miles from Pinnacle. Too minor to be noticed, I suspect, and certainly none of the terrible devastation seen in Italy.

An earthquake (6.0-magnitude) struck off the coast of southern Japan on Sunday, April 5, killing an elderly woman and injuring at least 400 people, damaging buildings and prompting authorities to evacuate half the residents of a tiny island near the epicenter. Labeled a temblor, the quake hit west of Kyushu Island at 10:53 am centered at an unusually shallow depth of 5.5 miles below the ocean floor, the Japanese Meteorological Agency said.

And there you have it — another day about noticeable shifts in of the skin of the small blue dot whirling about the cosmos.